Thank God it wasn't me.

by Pappy
  • Blogs By Author

  • Blogs By Tag


A cold December morning. Christmas card perfect. Dad and mom with two young boys on their way to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Mom has the map out, giving directions to dad as he navigates the family car toward a Christmas Day meal with all the fixin's.

72,000 pound rig with a driver at the wheel who stayed a little too long at his girlfriend's home. He thinks of that special moment when he revealed his feelings toward her. He picks up the cell phone and begins tapping in her number, one call just to reassure her that he was being truthful and he would be thinking of her every moment this trip. His thumb presses the last number, but he never hears her answer.

On her end she hears a horn blowing. It's kinda like in the distance, but it's not the air horn on his rig. It's more like that stupid car horn that is blown when he pushes that emblem in the center of the steering wheel. "How odd," she thinks as she checks the number calling her. Yes...yes, it's his number. Then she presses the phone back to her ear and hears him crying and saying over and over "God, noo... Ohhhh God, NNNOOOO!"

Yeah... I was there. I was southbound. The family and the rig were northbound. From my vantage point, unfortunately, I was able to witness this entire thing. I saw the impact. I watched the rig begin to slide. I witnessed the snow being knocked 50 feet into the air. It was all in a slow motion to me, almost like I could get out of my rig, run across the highway, and take part in the incident.

Later, as the driver was "cuffed an' stuffed," I heard the driver asking a highway patrolman, "How could this happen to me!"

As I gave my account to another officer, he shook his head in disbelief. He said, "I have a feeling that man will have a long time to answer the question of 'why me' for himself." We were standing next to the overturned rig. The Officer and I shook hands as he finished taking down my info. I turned to head back to my rig, and I was stunned to hear a small voice crying and repeating "Gary...Dear God Gary please answer meee Gary." I looked back and down to where the tiny voice was coming from....and there, in the still-burning headlights of the rig, was the driver's cellphone.

Traffic was backed up on both sides of the highway. I remember some lunatic in a rig headed south becoming enraged and layin' on the air horn to let the rubberneckers know he was not happy at being delayed. I thought to myself, "whatta idiot." And as I climbed back into my warm home away from home I thought, "Thank God it wasn't me."

Over the course of my life as a driver, I have seen horrible accidents that would make even the hardest of hearts turn to mush. I myself have been spared of these tragedies, but I have come too close for comfort many times.

Driver, now I'm talking straight to you. If you've read this far, I hope and pray you would learn a lesson.

I could sit here for another hour or so and pound out on this keyboard all the statistical numbers that are used to prove why you should never have your attention off the road for even a split second. I could also be far more brutal in my descriptions and details. But it doesn't matter how something is demonstrated if you don't care.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your actions. Every one of them. Even one so small as to call someone you love.

I welcome your response to this.

Related Articles:

Tractor Trailer Brakes On Fire!

A truck driver had the alertness to recognize a brake fire and the courage to act. The driver and a passing truck driver used fire extinguishers, but the fire department was still needed to put out the fire. Learn the best response to a brake fire in an emergency.

From the Driver's Seat

This is the story of 10 years of driving as a truck driver, told by a female trucker. From the amusing to the outright dangerous, the article details the sights seen while driving through the night and during the day.

Don't Let the Little Things Bother You....Just Roll On

TruckerMike offers a rookie's perspective on how to stay calm, manage stress, and make the most out of the unpredictability of truck driving. Find out how to enjoy the ride and let go of the little things.

My Recent Trucking Adventures - Quite A Challenge

Trucker Mike encountered a pre-plan and navigational challenges on a recent trip. He dealt with a heavy weight, tight schedule, and special back-in scenarios. He enjoyed the challenge and offers tips on how to stay safe and deal with stress in the trucking industry.

Stuck In A Bind: How I've Gotten Into And Out Of Some Terrible Circumstances

This article provides truck drivers with tips and advice on how to handle tricky situations while driving and how to stay calm and safe on the road. Learn how to analyze the situation, think calmly, and harness your emotions to get out of sticky situations.

Why Join Trucking Truth?

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training